Melbourne Victory defender Nick Ansell has failed in his bid to overcome a groin injury, ruled out of Saturday’s clash with the Perth Glory.
Ansell, who has quickly established himself in the starting line-up since making his debut against Western Sydney in late November, picked up the strain in last week’s 1-1 draw with Central Coast.
Coach Ange Postecoglou said after training at Gosch’s Paddock on Friday that the youngster would not be risked for the trip to Perth, which Billy Celeski will also miss through suspension, with Leigh Broxham and one of Jonathan Bru or Jimmy Jeggo to come back into the starting 11.
“Yeah Nicky didn’t come up,” Postecoglou said.
“He trained yesterday but he’s still not 100 percent so (there’s) no point risking him, it’s a long trip over there, so we’ll leave him out and Broxy (Broxham) will come in.”
Postecoglou refused to concede the loss of Ansell as a blow to his defence ahead of a clash with a team that includes Kiwi striker Shane Smeltz, especially considering Broxham was lauded recently for his job on Emile Heskey in a defensive role in late December.
“We don’t expect Nick Ansell to stop Shane Smeltz, it’s about us collectively (and) what we do,” Postecoglou added.
“They’ve got some attacking threats with Smeltz, (Steven) McGarry in good form and Travis Dodd can always score.
“We’ve got to do a good job defensively but it comes down to us as a unit and Broxy’s been really good when we’ve put him back there so we’ve got faith that he’ll do a good job.”
As for Victory’s poor record in the Western Australian capital, which currently reads just two wins and a draw from 11 encounters, Postecoglou was quick to dismiss the venue as a factor.
“I don’t have a poor record in Perth, I’ve got a good record in Perth (but) it’s just one of those things I guess,” he said.
“It’s a tough trip over there no doubt, in any code, going over to the west.
“From our point of view it will be a challenge but that’s a good thing (because) I guess it will show what progress we’re making if we can go over there and play well and get a result (and it) would be further evidence that we’re progressing as a team.
“I kind of like those kind of challenges when we haven’t done too well in the past.
“With any kind of game you can build yourself up to believing it’s going to be something but ultimately it’s all just a game of football that we’re going to try and win.
“I guess the beauty for us is that our approach every week doesn’t really change.
“We’re certainly not going to go over there trying not to lose and because of that mentality it shouldn’t really matter how far you’re travelling or the ground you’re playing at.
“You’re trying to outplay the opposition and get the points (and) that’s what we’ll be doing tomorrow.”